Trial Judge’s Charge Gave Imbalanced Account of Complainant’s Evidence

Hannah Godfrey BL, Decisis

October 7, 2021

Director of Public Prosecutions v PR [2020] IECA 347 (Court of Appeal (criminal), Kennedy J, 23 September 2021)

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal against conviction for sexual assault, finding as follows: (a) the trial judge's charge to the jury had been imbalanced and amounted to an error in principle where he had read the entire transcript of the interviews with the child complainant, rather than summarising the evidence, and then instructed the jury that this was the complainant's evidence making no mention of cross-examination; but (b) the defence case was one of denial and the trial judge did set out that case for the jury; and (c) there could be no doubt but that the jury were aware on whom the onus of proof lay and the applicable standard of proof.

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